Scavenger Hunt at the MFA Brings Sexy Back on Valentine’s Day

By Stephanie Simon
BU News Service

“I was looking for something quirky to do,” said Joanna Kavalaris at the Museum of Fine Arts on Valentines Day.  “And what’s more fun than naked art?”

Kavalaris, who is seven months pregnant, decided to surprise her husband of two years, George, by going to The Naked at the Art Museum Scavenger Hunt last Friday evening.

The scavenger hunts, held at museums in major cities across the country, tasks the participants with finding the risqué art and tasteful nudes.

Shannon Skilling, senior master of ceremonies for the company that hosts the hunts, directed the night.

“It really is a whirl wind tour,” said Skilling as she walked around the museum.  “We try to touch base in every area.  Get you into places you might not have known existed.”

Sixteen couples gathered for the competition.  Each couple was given a starting point in the museum and had to work their way through a series of 28 questions for an unknown prize.

Naked scavenger hunt at the MFA. (Stephanie Simon/BUNS)
Naked scavenger hunt at the MFA. (Stephanie Simon/BUNS)

“You have a team answer sheet,” Skilling said to the competitors before sending them out. “You have a list of clues.  Use strategy.  Maybe skip a question if you see another couple following you.  Don’t go over the two-hour limit or points will be deducted.  Pick a team name–bonus points for a good one.  You don’t have time to linger, answer as many questions correctly as you can.  Meet back at the green tree by the New American Café. Questions? Go.”

The teams scattered.

Trevor Masse, 26, and Anna Williams, 28, were team “Smarty Arties.” They’ve been together for ten years. Their hunt started in the Art of Europe wing.

With map in tow they moved at a jaunt as the clues guided them from the marble floors of Europe to the creaky wooden one’s of the Contemporary wing. Their strategy was to enter knowing the clue and then split up in the room to search for the artwork.

As the Smarty Arties passed through the halls, music from the piano and upright bass was being played in Bravo, the MFA restaurant.  The couple hardly noticed because they were busy discussing the next clues. A security guard stopped them as they entered the gallery in search of a Warhol piece, demanding to know why people were moving so fast.

Masse and Williams explained.  Quickly they found Warhol and trudged onward in search of the answer to their next question. They headed to the Art of Africa wing. They softened their steps and brought their voices to a whisper, hoping not to be approached by another irritated guard.

“Sweetie, I think I found it,” Williams said.

“What is that ‘Panel from a Box,’” asked Masse looking at a carved treasure chest in the glass case.

“Yes, we’re doing good,” she said as Masse wrote down an answer.

While the Smarty Arties continued their quest, Dean Ho, 28, and his wife of seven months Megan Ho, 30, used a slower strategy more of a walk than a jaunt. Their team name was “Naked Ho’s.”

“This was a Valentine’s surprise from Dean.  He just told me not to wear heels,” said Ho as she patted her husband’s shoulders.

They both stared at the “Watson and the Shark” painting in the America’s wing, trying to solve a clue.  They picked up the pace however when they realized only a half hour was left, Dean still took the time to stop and open doors for his wife and others.

Naked scavenger hunt at the MFA. (Stephanie Simon/BUNS)
Naked scavenger hunt at the MFA. (Stephanie Simon/BUNS)

Skilling waited for groups to return back by the New American Café. Clinking silverware and plates echoed in the glass encased courtyard.

The Kavalaris’ came back smiling and said they had to move a little slowly because of the “plus one.”  Skilling revealed rankings after the groups returned.

The Naked Ho’s tied for fourth with 20 points.  They were pleased because this was their first time at the MFA, and the Smarty Arties won with 25 points.  A free Watson Adventure Scavenger Hunt was their loot.

“The answers were not impossible, but still challenging.   A good way to spend Valentine’s Day,” said Williams.

Bostonians Prepare to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

By Lindsey Kennett
BU News Service

Heart-shaped balloons, oversized teddy bears, and red boxes of chocolates fill the aisles of CVS and Shaw’s Supermarket. Newbury Street shop windows feature advertisements with cardboard cut-out hearts and roses. While Valentine’s Day can bring mixed feelings to residents, Boston is preparing to celebrate this holiday with dinner specials, concerts and comedy shows that will keep couples and singles alike having a good time.

For Joe Mcevoy, a project manager at Cambridge Education, planning for Valentine’s Day can be a little tricky.

“I might get my wife some flowers or something,” he said. But the problem is she can see everything that I do in my bank account, so I can’t even surprise her with anything.”

McEvoy said going out to dinner, “something quiet and romantic,” would be nice surprise for her. 

The North End is one of many popular dining destinations due to the number and variety of restaurants in the area. One such restaurant, Mamma Maria, is offering a Valentine’s Day special on Feb. 14 and 15. Reservation info can be found on their website:

Another dining option can be found at Rowes Wharf, where brunch and dinner cruises offer food, live entertainment and dancing with a vivid view of the Boston skyline. Prices start at $109.90 per person and further information can be found at

Besides dining out, other locals expressed interest in music events offered in the city.

 “I’d like to hear some music,” Matt Montalto, who works in admissions at a school he preferred not to specify, said. “I haven’t been to a jazz club in some time. I was unfortunate enough to miss a show this past week, so I think that might be the next thing on the list.”

A few Boston locations are advertising classical concerts, including a free performance put on by the North End Music and Performing Arts Center (NEMPAC) in collaboration with the Old North Church. Their opera concert, “Amore,” is free and open to the public and will take place on Friday, Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. The hour-long concert will include a small reception after the show and they suggest a donation of $15-$20.

The Chamber Orchestra of Boston is also offering a show this Valentine’s Day at 7:30 p.m. Baritone Paul Soper presents a variety of romantic songs and internationally-acclaimed tango dancers Nuria Martinez and Armando Orzuza will take the stage. Post-show tapas and wine will be offered as well. Visit for more information.

Going stag this holiday doesn’t seem to be a reason to fret for some locals, including one junior at Boston University.

“I think if you’re with good friends or your significant other, that you just have to do something you both like,” Emily Kraft said. “If you’re together and doing something that you both enjoy, then I think it would be a good Valentine’s Day.”

There are plenty of singles-only parties, comedy shows and even fitness boot camps happening in the area for those seeking a not-so-typical V-day.

KitchenWares on Newbury Street is offering a mixology class, where anyone over 21 is welcome to sign up. The cocktails class is a new edition to the store’s classes’ list, manager Benjamin Stroud said.

“This is the first installment and it’s going to be focused around classic cocktails: Manhattan, Old-fashioned, Negroni, Aviation, and Margarita,” Stroud said.

Stroud said they thought a cocktails class would be a fun event for Valentine’s Day.

“Just a fun little social event,” Stroud said. “You can either come with a friend or with a date and just have a good time, learn a little bit and enjoy yourselves.”

For information about classes call (857) 366-4237.

Danny Sayson, a bartender at Abby Lane Food & Spirits, described what to expect at the restaurant’s first-ever “Broken Heart Bash” hosted by chef-owner Jason Santos.

“We expect it to be a little busy,” Sayson said. “We’re not requiring you to dress up. Sweats are actually encouraged.”

Sayson said this is the restaurant’s first time doing the bash, so if it goes off without a hitch, then they will continue hosting it for future Valentine’s Days.

The 9 p.m. party will feature a DJ, dancing and a menu that includes fried Snickers with whipped cream, chili/cheese fries, and mini Big Macs. Details can be located at

Other parties include “The Big Valentine’s Day Singles Party” held at The Harborside Inn Café and Lounge. The event begins at 8 p.m. with prices starting at $20.

For those who just want to show their bodies some love, Barry’s Bootcamp is offering a “Love Yourself” class this Valentine’s Day, with class times varying from 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

“We are allowing first time customers to come for free,” co-owner Dustin Martin said. “We spend half of the class, so 30 minutes, doing cardio training and the other half on the floor lifting weights.”

Martin said they are encouraging members to bring a friend, girlfriend, boyfriend, significant other and work out because it’s normally a big food and drink day, where fat and calories can quickly accumulate.

“So people not in a relationship don’t have to feel the pressure of doing something on Valentine’s Day, and they can just come here and sweat,” he said. “And if you are in a relationship, it gives you the chance to come here and sweat with a significant other.”

Other alternative activities include a “Naked at the Art Museum Scavenger Hunt” held at The Museum of Fine Arts. But no worries, visitors do not have to take off any clothing to participate. This scavenger hunt is designed to uncover the various forms of nudity featured in works of art at the MFA. According to the host, Watson Adventures, “No knowledge of art, or nudity, is required.” The event starts at 6:30 p.m.

If Bostonians want to spend this holiday reminiscing and laughing about past V-day horror stories, the Oberon Theater is presenting “Mortified Boston: Doomed Valentine’s Show” on Feb. 13 and 14 at 8 pm. Anyone can come to hear the most awkward and cringe-worthy tales of love gone horribly wrong.

No matter how your Valentine’s Day goes, on Feb. 15, singles and couples can grab friends and strip down for Cupid’s Undie Run. This is Boston’s debut of this run in support of The Children’s Tumor Foundation. Runners can join an existing team, form their own, or run solo. The party begins at noon with the run starting at 2:30 p.m. from the grounds of Fenway. Register at

John Zimmerman and Muriel Herrman, a couple visiting Boston from San Francisco, explained how they make Valentine’s Day special, no matter where they are in the world.

“We travel a lot with his business,” Herrman said of Zimmerman’s work as a software management consultant. “So wherever we are, that’s where we go [to celebrate],” Herrman said. “We travel all over the planet.”

But as for their favorite place to spend Valentine’s Day, the couple agreed on Italy.

“In Tuscany and Florence,” Zimmerman said. “The food, the people, it’s a beautiful area.”

Isamary Onde, a graduate student at Northeastern University, described her holiday plans.

“Nothing really, besides renting a couple of movies and hanging out,” she said.

Onde said there is only one thing, however, that can make the perfect Valentine’s Day.

 “Chocolate,” she said.